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Things to Do in Yogyakarta During Ramadhan : The Definitive Guide

by Yoga Adi

Ramadhan is a beautiful month. The month is not meant only for Muslims who are doing their obligation for fasting all day long, but also for other people. They can enjoy the Markets that can sell them delicious Ramadhan snacks or Takjil. And also sometimes, some places are having a pretty discount during Ramadhan.

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But on the other hand, Ramadhan brings a new color to the people. They are celebrating the month with their own unique activities that seem to be exclusive. The same thing goes for Yogyakarta city, where they are having their own unique traditional ceremonies in order to celebrate the Holy Month of Ramadhan. So what are those things to do in Yogyakarta during Ramadhan? Let’s see them below.

1 – Apeman

The first one in things to do in Yogyakarta during Ramadhan is to see the festivals. During the special month of Ramadhan, people in the city always celebrate it with some kinds of the festival, like this one, for example, a festive festival called Apeman. You can just read it as Apeman, but more like Apem-an.

So, this one is included as the traditional procession that held during Ramadhan month. Just like its name, this procession is highly related to one traditional meal of Yogyakarta called Apem. Usually, you can find this activity inside Keraton Yogyakarta. You’ll be lucky if you can actually see it.

2 – Nyadran

Moving from the first one, we want to introduce you to the next traditional ceremony slash procession called Nyadran. Unlike Apem-an procession above, Nyadran is more likely to be held by the locals of Yogyakarta. Not only the locals who live around Keraton, but also Yogyakarta city in general.

But, you can find it easier in the village areas around the city. The purpose of this procession is to tighten the bond between families, even the dead ones. So, the routines that they always do are visiting the family’s cemetery, cleaning the grave, giving some flowers to the dead, and eating together as a sign of gratitude towards God Almighty.

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3 – Lelabuhan Kesultanan

Lelabuhan Kesultanan is a holy procession held by Keraton Yogyakarta. No ordinary people can do it, even the locals are forbidden to do it themselves. Even though that is a fact, this procession actually has a very kind purpose for the people of Yogyakarta. They do it in order to bring goodness and prosperity.

However, as said above, the procession can only be held by members of Keraton, including their “bodyguards”. Plus, the processions are allowed to be held by the order of Sultan only. So if Sultan says not to do the procession this year, it’s basically canceled. However, this procession requires the hair and nails from Sultan, and then send them together to Parangtritis Beach and Mount Merapi.

4 – Padusan

And for the last procession on the list, there’s this thing called Padusan. Padusan comes from the word “Adus”, a Javanese word means taking a bath. So, usually a day before the first Taraweeh, people of Yogyakarta clean themselves by taking a bath in order to do the Padusan procession.

Then, people only doing it in sacred places. And they did it along with others, taking a bath together at the same place. But now, along with the time goes by, people can do it in every place they like. They can do it in the swimming pool, private bathtub, or even a jacuzzi. The purpose of this procession is to cleanse the body from sin before Ramadhan comes.

5 – Kampoeng Ramadhan Jogokariyan

In the next things to do in Yogyakarta during Ramadhan, we want to mention some of the Pasar Kaget you can find around the city of Yogyakarta. Pasar Kaget basically means “Surprise Market”. That doesn’t mean those markets have some kind of Jumpscare to make you scared. But it’s resembling that the markets open “suddenly”, which is only in Ramadhan.

With that, you can’t usually meet these markets anytime expect Ramadhan. The first example from this is the Kampoeng Ramadhan in Yogyakarta city. This is the merriest and crowdest Pasar Kaget you can find in Yogyakarta. They put their best effort to bring the best for the visitors by decorating the place beautifully.

6 – Pasar Sore (Evening Market) Ramadhan Kauman

There’s Pasar Sore Ramadhan Kauman, which is believed to be the pioneer of Pasar Kaget in Yogyakarta city. Many people would like to call it as Pasar Tiban. The market was started to exist back in 1990 with the idea of people who live around Kauman. Kauman is always known to be the religious area of Yogyakarta.

The reason behind this is because its location which is not that far from Masjid Gede Kauman or Keraton Great Mosque. Many people would love to spend their time here, especially in the month of Ramadhan. This legendary mosque also serves the visitors with one rare dish called Kicak. It’s an opportunity to get it in here.

7 – Jalur Gaza Nitikan

Jalur Gaza or Gaza highly reminds us of the location in Palestina who is now destroyed by the conflict. But, knowing that the name is used for naming a market makes anyone feels a bit confused. In this market, Jalur Gaza is actually an acronym for Jajanan Lauk Sayur Gubuk Ashar Zerba Ada or means The All Dishes and Meals after Ashar You Can Get”. A pretty long name, but you get the point.

For anyone who wants to hunt the culinary in Yogyakarta, this is the first location that should come in mine. Along Jalur Gaza, you can find about 130 vendors who sell different kinds of meal. However, the Jaluz Gaza opens all month from the start to the end of Ramadhan month. Be sure to visit it before too late.

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8 – Gajah Mada Ramadhan Festival

The next one is Gajah Mada Ramadhan Festival. To differ this market from the other market by Gajah Mada University, we can use its other name, Pasar Ramadhan Pakualaman. This one is actually the newest.  The market basically has 4 years of age, starting from 2015 thanks to the people of Purwokinanti.

Pakualaman Market is nicely decorated with some umbrellas above the vendors’ stands. The locals said that the meaning of that is a symbol for togetherness under one purpose, which is to give happiness to others.

9 – Pasar Kaget Ramadhan Lembah UGM (UGM Ramadhan Market)

And the last market in things to do in Yogyakarta during Ramadhan is Pasar Kage Ramadhan Lembah UGM, located around UGM campus. Lembah UGM is included as an area that is never empty, especially during this month. Many people come around for gathering and waiting for breaking fast.

When the evening comes, many vendors come to give their best to the visitors. Many variants of food that will spoil you are the things that are important here.

10 – Kepang Noodle

Now after talking about the processions and markets (Pasar Kaget) in the city of Yogyakarta, now it comes the time to introduce you to the special meals that can make you drolling. The first one on the line is Kepang noodle. Kepang is an acronym for Keju Panggang or baked cheese.

So, imagine the combination of noddles and baked cheese. The tasteful and delicacy from melted cheese would make your heart happy.

11 – Bakso Klenger

A little extreme for the first one, here’s Bakso Klenger. Have you tried the ordinary bakso? Yes, it tastes nice and great, especially with a fitting portion. But, the Bakso Klenger, Bakso that can make you Klenger (K.O.) is totally different, way different. The taste is basically the same, even better.

But talking about the size, even your head is smaller. A portion of Bakso Klenger is fitting for two or three persons. Because of its unordinary size, it’s really challenging to consume it.

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12 – Ayam Bumbu Rujak (Chicken with Rujak flavor)

Do you know a traditional meal called Rujak? Rujak is a combination of fresh fruits, sometimes added with spice in order to make it more lively. A person decided to combine it with chicken meat. And thankfully, the result is even better than expected. Thus Ayam Bumbu Rujak was created.

If you look at it, at a glimpse it looks like Chicken Betutu. But when you try it, the taste is way different from what comes in mind. It’s fresh, tasty, and really unique.

13 – Es Kepal Meler

And finally, the last meal inside the things to do in Yogyakarta during Ramadhan is Es Kepal Meler. Es Kepal is becoming a trend lately. But this one is way different than the others. It doesn’t use chocolate as a topping. It’s green color resembling its basic ingredient, which is green tea.

The green tea cream then combined with ice that already put inside a cup. With an affordable price, Es Kepal Meler is the thing you should get when breaking your fast.

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